My daughter is turning 6 and I’d like to get her a camera. We gave her an old Canon point-and-shoot for Christmas and she is so responsible with it – she’s ready for a new one of her own. I love the Fujifilm Instax Mini (especially Hello Kitty), but I’m a little nervous about the the amount of film we’ll go through with three little kids (and me!) taking pictures. Do you have any photo/video suggestions? – Lisa


Hi Lisa, sounds like you have a budding photographer on your hands!

It’s great you want to nurture her talents with her first camera of her own, and hopefully get some memorable shots out of it at the same time. We are also huge fans of the Hello Kitty Instax Mini, but if your daughter is planning daily photo shoots, yes, the expense will add up. Here are a few other camera recommendations for kids I can make, some of which might be a little unexpected.

I would just say whichever you go with, skip the so-called kiddie “my first camera” style cameras which are more for toddlers, and still don’t offer great resolution either for viewing or printing, which can be frustrating when a child is trying do more than “play photographer.” –Jeana

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A Hand-me-Down iPod or iPhone

Camera recommendations for kids: Save money and let kids use a hand-me down iPhone or iPod

Dust off that old iPod or early gen iPhone and give it a whirl as a kids’ camera. The iPhone 6S is coming out after all, and that may be the perfect excuse to trade up. As long as the battery is still intact, the photo/video function on an older phone or iPod should work great. Plus, kids will get instant gratification from seeing their creations on a bigger screen than point-and-shoots tend to offer; for more of an authentic camera experience they can shoot through apps like Hipstamatic which our own kids love; and then there’s the excitement of having their “own” iDevice.

You don’t even need to have 4G service connected to it, just WiFi  for app downloads and photo sharing and saving. Just be sure to make to check out our tips for making an iPod touch safe for kids before handing it over.

Related: 10 cool camera apps and why we love them


Nikon Coolpix S33

Camera recommendations for kids: Nikon COOLPIX is smart, durable first camera

When it comes to kids and electronics, I’m always in the waterproof camp whenever possible. The Nikon Coolpix is a great option because it’s not only is it waterproof, but it’s also shockproof and freezeproof. Sounds about right for children. The Coolpix is reasonably priced and rugged enough to handle the rigors of children. Most importantly, it takes great photos with 13-megapixels along with HD 1080p videos. ($116 from our affiliate Amazon)


Canon Powershot ELPH 150


First camera recommendations for kids: Canon Powershot ELPH is terrific point-and-shoot that kids can handle

If the waterproof feature isn’t as important, the ELPH is another point-and-shoot to consider. This offers 20-megapixels, 10x optical zoom and HD video. Though the video resolution is lower than the Nikon, it does have a dedicated movie button, which makes it easier for kids tonavigate. Plus, it comes in fun colors like this cherry red. ($129, Amazon)


Nabi Square


Recommendations for first cameras for kids: Check out the Nabi Square HD which is like a GoPro for kids , and super durable

The Nabi Square, or what we’ve called the GoPro for kids, is a fantastic camera that is easy enough and rugged enough for kids to use. While the photo/video resolution isn’t as high as the other options, it makes up for it with a small size perfect for little hands, and durability for potentially clumsy ones. The casing around the actual camera means it’s waterproof (yes, back to the whole waterproof thing!), shockproof and dustproof, and it’s meant for kids, so there aren’t extraneous buttons. Plus, the mounts mean that any bike ride, skateboard session or boogie board ride can be recorded. This really is a real camera, even if it’s marketed to kids — don’t be surprised if you want to give it a go too.  ($170)